The Sculptor to His Apprentice: A Five-Sonnet Cycle by Michael Curtis The Society February 8, 2014 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 3 Comments Instruction The tales of Ovid are a theme that suits The Prince, but will not do for your repute. Avoid lust. Clients of the better kind Desire the tales that beautify the mind. You may display the human flesh with taste Discreetly in the hands and face. Be chaste: Show in your theme what suits the moral best; Put in the good and true, leave out the rest. And yet, even the clergy like their jewels To glister Heaven and to glimmer Hell, And every congregation comes to see Angels above when they are on their knees. Put in the awe invention can devise For art should be a feast for human eyes. Envision Allow the man to know the ecstasy, Let him participate in what he sees, Incise the swollen tongue to make him feel The taste of agony: Make it real. Press in the broken skin, paint on the white Of eyes the drops that glisten and excite The senses of the man; draw out the knife With precision to lend the martyr life. Overflow the canvas, make the picture breathe With color and with light, show all things seeth- Ing, swelling, feeling force of the divine Presence of our God. Make your painting shine And shimmer, draw him upward heavenly To let him be the picture: Make him see. Imitation Seek in your art the grandeur of the Greek, The noble calm, the sweet simplicity. Question Nature, conceive Her, look beyond Into Platonic Forms, hold them, respond With measured lines determined logically, Like angels sing, purely and exactly. Balance the essences, leave out the rest, Choose for your model summits of the best. Restrain your brushes and confine your hues To form an object of abiding truth— That skill of art which is most rarely won Is found in things lavishly underdone. Think to know and know then what to feel. The greatest art is art which is ideal. Genesis All men and nations move, as move they will Compelled by storms some purpose to fulfill; Never knowing where they go, nor why; They live, they do some things and then they die. The artist stands apart, he stands alone: Seas swirl, leaves blow, he keeps his place like stone, Some great stone standing buffeted by waves, He and his thoughts heroic hold their place. He looks into the tempest’s wild rage Calm and sure, the Caesar of his age He marshals men unborn to do his will, Time breaks, reforms, his purpose to fulfill. Like Nature to its functions, God in awe, The feeling of the artist is the law. Realigned The essence of the line restricts, contracts, It is by nature a defining act. The line contains an image in the past, It draws us back, it binds, it holds us fast. The vastness of the brain will set you free, Just close your eyes and let the painting be; Be free of concepts, free of old régimes; Let go your will, allow the brush to dream. Yet master, line can hold a thing in place; What harm will happen to an unlined face? If we erase, what horrors might we reap? Monsters will roam the earth when reason sleeps. If we by breaking lines break with the past, What law of art allows an art to last? Michael Curtis has 40 years of professional experience in architecture, sculpture, and painting. He has taught and lectured at universities, colleges, and museums including The Institute of Classical Architecture, The National Gallery of Art, et cetera. His paintings and sculptures are featured in over 300 private collections; his many public statues can be found in The Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, other public buildings and squares. Professional experiences include Archivist of State Art (Michigan); guest curator, The Detroit Institute of Art; founder of art galleries; widely published poet; founding director of The National Civic Art Society, et cetera. Featured Image: Athena Statue outside Athens University, by Leonidas Drosis Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Nestor Dzenchuo February 9, 2014 Realign is so beautifully written, that it compels one to a course in life. a good write. Reply Nestor N. Dzenchuo February 9, 2014 That was a mistake. It was Genesis. So beautifully written that it compels one to fond a course in life. A good write. Reply Terence Marin February 11, 2014 Truly, this is where Great Art comes from! 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